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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Summer movies provide a thing to do indoors on a hot and humid day, and from these films have come some of the most memorable scenes and quotable lines (“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”) in film history. We put together a list of places that have been the backdrop for scenes in some of the most top-ranked summer blockbusters of all time that you can recreate during your travels.

RELATED: 15 horror film locations that you can visit

Kauai, HI: Jurassic Park

Allerton Gardens in Kauai | Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority / Jakob Owens

Much of the 1993 movie that started this dinosaur franchise was filmed in our 50th state, with many scenes happening on the island of Kauai. Allerton Garden is home to Moreton Bay Fig trees, which moviegoers also know as the location that Dr. Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill, and his young companions find a nest of hatched velociraptor eggs. Get even closer at Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve, where tours of this location take guests along the same landscape in which the film’s cast gets caught up in the midst of a Gallimimus stampede.

LA County: National Lampoon’s Vacation

A string of hilarious classics starring Chevy Chase, the first film in this franchise takes the Griswold family on a topsy-turvy road trip to the fictional Wally World, where Clark Griswold keeps encountering Christie Brinkley while driving en route. The two get involved in a hilarious scene within a swimming pool at an actual hotel in Los Angeles. It’s the Hotel Saddleback, where a suggestive nighttime swim for the comedic actor and the supermodel goes awry when Clark loudly notices how cold the water is. The hotel does have a pool, but be forewarned about recreating this scenario.

Bonneville Salt Flats: Independence Day

In the original “Independence Day,” Will Smith walked along Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. Matt Morgan / Visit Utah

This 1996 smash hit made Will Smith a major box office draw and in one scene had him dragging a punched-out alien in a parachute across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. An hour and a half west of Salt Lake City, this 60-square mile stretch of pristine desert attracts visitors with its blinding white crust. In fitting with this extraterrestrial-themed film, the experience of walking along these salt flats seems out of this world.

Martha’s Vineyard: Jaws

Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard was the setting for “Jaws.” Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism

This island south of Cape Cod was the setting for the fictional tourist town of Amity Island in the 1975 thriller involving the hunt for a great white shark. On Martha’s Vineyard, there are still standing sights that had their time onscreen over 40 years ago. Joseph Sylvia State Beach between Oaks Bluff and Edgartown is where the spotting of the shark happened. The beach also boasts the American Legion Memorial Bridge, which led to a local tradition of people jumping off it. And walk down Main Street in Edgartown to see buildings ranging from the Edgartown Town Hall to Edgartown National Bank whose name plaques were switched for the film.

Chicago: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Take in the painting  “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” at the Art Institute of Chicago. Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The John Hughes film about a truant high school student features Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, and Alan Ruck running around Chicago. Rent a car, and recreate the trio’s drive along Lake Shore Drive, an expressway with skyscrapers on one side and Lake Michigan on the other. Next, look down on the city atop the Willis Tower Skydeck, which at the time of the film was the Sears Tower Observation Deck. If there’s a home game happening, go to Wrigley Field (alas we can’t guarantee you’ll catch a foul ball) or pose as the three of them did at the Art Institute of Chicago. Characters Ferris and Sloane kiss in front of Marc Chagall’s “America Windows,” while Cameron reflects upon Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.”

Malibu: Grease

Recreate “Summer Lovin'” at  Leo Carrillo State Park. Credit: Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Situated along the Malibu coast, the beach at Leo Carrillo State Park begins the setting for the summer fling, then later rekindled romance between Aussie good girl Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and T-Birds leader Danny Zuko (John Travolta). The opening shot of the film happens here, too. The lovebirds say goodbye, but will later tell two different versions of their romance at Rydell High School in “Summer Lovin'” (filmed at Venice High School). Com to Leo Carrillo with your sweetie for a romantic walk or some “splashing around.”

Cannon Beach, OR: The Goonies

Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock appears in pivotal moments in “The Goonies.” Credit: Joni Kabana

Never say die by visiting Cannon Beach, a coastal city in northwest Oregon. The 1980’s blockbuster opens with a scene at Cannon Beach’s Ecola State Park and specifically Haystack Rock, the towering fixture seen in the beachside car racing/truck rally. The park is also where the Goonies pull up their bikes in search of One-Eyed Willie’s treasure along the bluff of Indian Beach.  Diehard movie buffs might also recognize this beach from Point Break, where Patrick Swayze’s Bodie Lee takes his last wave ride while Keanu Reeves’s Johnny Utah lets him go.

Brooklyn: Do the Right Thing

“Do The Right Thing” was filmed along Stuyvesant Avenue in Brooklyn. Credit: NYC & Company/Jorge Garcia

Spike Lee’s 1988 film is set on a hot summer day in Brooklyn’s Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood, known commonly as Bed-Stuy. While many of the main locations in the film, such as Sal’s Pizzeria, were built for the movie, you can still walk the street where much of the movie takes place. It was filmed entirely on Stuyvesant Avenue between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue, which is now commemorated with a marker and in 2015 was renamed “Do The Right Thing Way.”

New Orleans: Girls Trip

In “Girls Trip,” the cast heads out for a night on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. Credit: New Orleans & Company / Paul Brossard

This 2017 girlfriend getaway heads to the Big Easy. Warning: Think twice before ordering the green hand grenade cocktail from Tropical Isle on Bourbon Street. However, hearing live music is a must. Known as the locals’ Bourbon Street, Frenchmen Street is lined with clubs and venues. Have a girls night out at The Maison, a three-level restaurant, bar, and live music venue. Book a stay at The Roosevelt Hotel, in the bustling Central Business District, or The French Quarter’s Hotel Monteleone; both are featured in the film.


Tagged: California, Chicago, Chicago, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Midwest, New Orleans, New York, Oregon, Utah

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Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

Michele writes about women's travel, destinations, culinary, and cultural topics for various outlets and has ventured as far as Fiji, to date. She also muses her tales on She Is Going Places.
Michele Herrmann

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